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Family Guy is an American cartoon series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian. The show uses frequent cutaway gags, often in the form of tangential vignettes which parody American culture.
MacFarlane conceived Family Guy after developing two animated films, The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve. MacFarlane redesigned the films' protagonist Larry and his dog Steve, and renamed them Peter and Brian. Shortly after the third season of Family Guy aired in 2001, Fox canceled the series. However, favorable DVD sales and high ratings for syndicated reruns convinced the network to renew the show in 2004. The series takes place in the fictional town of Quahog, Rhode Island (pronounced /ˈkoʊhɒɡ/), based on MacFarlane's upbringing and education.
Family Guy was created in 1999 after the Larry shorts (its predecessor) caught the attention of the Fox Broadcasting Company during the 1999 Super Bowl commercial. Its cancellation was announced, but then a shift in power at Fox and outcry from the fans led to a reversal of that decision and the making of a third season, after which it was canceled again. Reruns on Adult Swim drove interest in the show up, and the DVD releases did quite well, selling over 2.2 million copies in one year, which renewed network interest. Family Guy returned to production in 2004, making three more seasons (for a total of six) and a straight-to-DVD movie, Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story. The show celebrated its official 100th episode during its sixth season in autumn of 2007, resulting in the show's syndication.
The show usually revolves around the adventures of Peter Griffin, a bumbling but well-intentioned blue-collar worker. Peter is an Irish American Catholic with a prominent Rhode Island / Eastern Massachusetts accent. His wife Lois is generally a stay-at-home mother and piano teacher, and has a distinct New England accent from being a member of the Pewterschmidt family of wealthy socialites. Peter and Lois have three children: teenage daughter Meg, who is frequently the butt of Peter's jokes due to her homeliness and lack of popularity; teenage son Chris, who is overweight, unintelligent and, in many respects, a younger version of his father; and son Stewie, a diabolical infant of ambiguous sexual orientation who has adult mannerisms and speaks fluently with what some consider an upper-class affected English accent and stereotypical archvillain phrases. Living with the family is Brian, the family dog, who is highly anthropomorphized, walks on two legs, drinks Martinis, smokes cigarettes and engages in human conversation, though he is still considered a pet in many respects. He is atheist, as explained in Love, Blactually.
The main cast and their main parts are as follows:
- Seth MacFarlane: Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, Glenn Quagmire, Tom Tucker, and additional voices
- Alex Borstein: Lois Griffin and additional voices
- Seth Green: Chris Griffin and additional voices
- Mila Kunis: Meg Griffin
- Mike Henry: Cleveland Brown, Herbert and additional voices
The main cast do voices for several recurring characters other than those listed, as well as impersonate celebrities and pop-culture icons.
Recurring cast members include: Patrick Warburton as Joe Swanson; Adam West as Mayor Adam West; Jennifer Tilly as Bonnie Swanson; John G. Brennan as Mort Goldman; Adam Carolla as Death (excluding Death's first appearance, during which the character was voiced by Norm Macdonald); Lori Alan as Diane Simmons.
Lacey Chabert voiced Meg Griffin for the first production season (15 episodes); however, because of a contractual agreement, she was never credited.
For the first half of the first season, the writers tried to work the words "murder" or "death" into the title of every episode to make the titles resemble those of old-fashioned radio mystery shows. On the DVD commentary for the first episode "Death Has a Shadow", creator Seth MacFarlane says that the writers stopped doing this when they realized they were beginning to get the titles confused. Beginning with "A Hero Sits Next Door", the episodes feature titles descriptive of their plots.
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